My Year To Thrive

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou

Science (Again) Shows It’s More Complex Than Calories In < Calories Out


This is a research article, written for professionals, so it’s dry & full of blahblah, but the take home point is weight loss is not a simple math problem.  It is actually a very complex math problem, because I’m good at math & even took physics in high school (I know, you’re all impressed!) but it gives me a headache to look at.   Though, TBH, I have had a terrible headache for the last couple of days.

Here is the abstract from the article:

One of the most pervasive weight loss rules is that a cumulative energy deficit of 3500 kcal is required per pound of body weight loss, or equivalently 32.2 MJ per kg. Under what conditions is it appropriate to use this rule of thumb and what are the factors that determine the cumulative energy deficit required per unit weight loss? Here, I examine this question using a modification of the classic Forbes equation that predicts the composition of weight loss as a function of the initial body fat and magnitude of weight loss. The resulting model predicts that a larger cumulative energy deficit is required per unit weight loss for people with greater initial body fat – a prediction supported by published weight loss data from obese and lean subjects. This may also explain why men can lose more weight than women for a given energy deficit since women typically have more body fat than men of similar body weight. Furthermore, additional weight loss is predicted to be associated with a lower average cumulative energy deficit since a greater proportion of the weight loss is predicted to result from loss of lean body mass which has a relatively low energy density in comparison with body fat. The rule of thumb approximately matches the predicted energy density of lost weight in obese subjects with an initial body fat above 30 kg but overestimates the cumulative energy deficit required per unit weight loss for people with lower initial body fat.

What is the Required Energy Deficit per unit Weight Loss?

Weight, gaining, it losing, whatever is a very complex & personal thing.  And I do find it baffling how we can so easily believe some people are just bone thin & that’s it, but find it impossible to believe that some people are just naturally fat.

It made me sad today when I was looking at a picture of a very thin young man, & my first thought was “he must be an anorexic or something”.   We have reached a point where all bodies are suspect.  Not only if being fat considered a crime against nature, but being thin makes you disordered.  If someone isn’t too thin or too fat, how often do we hear about what sorts or surgeries they must’ve had?

Overall the standards for women have gotten to be so thin, I think they want us to disappear all together.  Or at the very least, be too weak to fight back.  It scares me.

I don’t want to be a size 0, I just want to be my best, healthiest self, who feels positive about life.  To that end, I have been working on something, which is going well so far.  I will be blogging about it soon.  Maybe Tuesday.  (Today is my birthday!)


Author: despitemyself

A person in flux.

2 thoughts on “Science (Again) Shows It’s More Complex Than Calories In < Calories Out

  1. Happy Birthday!

    And yes, way more complicated than calories in calories out… if that were the case it would have made it impossible for me to lose the 4.8 lbs I did this week since I only calculated a calorie deficit of 5981.
    Your comment about if someone’s not too fat or thin we don’t hear about them made me think of something that occurred to me a couple months ago… It’s starting to bother me more and more than we celebrate people who drop lots of weight (like on reality competition shows or even the dozens of weight loss shows like on Discovery Health, TLC, etc) because basically we’re celebrating the fact that a very unhealthy, out of control person finally got off their ass and did something about the quality of their own life, yet where are the shows who celebrate drug addicts or alcoholics who finally gain control and change their lives for the better?
    People who did nothing except manage to lose a lot of weight get to appear as a guest on morning shows and get congratulated again and again like they just found a cure for cancer, but those shows won’t be bringing on the former town drunk to celebrate that he’s been sober for 10 years… you know what I mean?
    There are people out there who are hungry for fame and I feel like we’re giving them a very unfortunate avenue to achieve that.
    Sure, I’ll love a congratulations here and there from family members and friends when I finally get to my goal, but ending up on a talk show because of my “achievement” seems like overkill. Plus formerly big people are celebrated the instant they hit their goal weight – like it isn’t a constant ongoing battle to achieve that… But alcoholics, they are not celebrated after managing to stop drinking for just a day… we don’t give them credit (ie believe they are serious about being sober) until at least a year goes by… only other alcoholics celebrate your 7 day chip.
    The acceptance of celebrating formerly fat people is like a version of how it is suddenly OK to touch a woman’s stomach just because she’s pregnant.. it’s really not actually ok.
    Wow…. I digress. Sorry!

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes 🙂

      I know what you mean! We are obsessed with weight & being skinny has become the be all, end all of accomplishments. Which is a sad, sad statement on our society & its values. It doesn’t matter if you’re living on a steady diet of caffeine, nicotine, & diet pills as long as your skinny your gold.

      I can remember times in my life where I have made significant changes & non-weight related accomplishments, & when I saw family members instead of even mentioning any of those *actually* important things they asked if I had lost weight. I was initially insulted, but I’ve come to realized we use weight loss as high praise. They were trying to tell me I seemed a lot better & they were proud of me. The flip-side of how it’s so common to call people we don’t like ‘fat’ even if they are a size 0. Fat shows contempt. It is a crazy, messed up world.

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